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How Australian online news frames domestic violence homicides

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This article investigates how Australian online news covers domestic violence and its homicides by examining the content of 2324 domestic violence articles published online between 2014 and 2016 by ABC News Digital, The Sydney Morning Herald and news.com.au. While content analysis is used to examine the messages in the articles, twelve interviews with reporters and editors were conducted to investigate decision-making behind the coverage. Results show Australian online news coverage is murder-oriented, with reporters and editors regarding such reporting as most effective in growing readership and influencing audiences, therefore deliberately producing coverage that risks being sensational. The article investigates how these media navigate the speed and accuracy balance when covering domestic violence that, as studies indicate, emerges as homicides and breaking news.
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Keywords: domestic violence; family violence; framing; intimate partner violence; media coverage; online news

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000115553415University of the Sunshine Coast

Publication date: June 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • Australian Journalism Review publishes articles on a broad range of perspectives relating to journalism research, practice and education. Its emphasis is on original theoretical, empirical and applied research, but it also provides opportunities to canvass perspectives on current debates on research, practice and education through commentary pieces on specific topics.

    This double-blind peer-reviewed journal is published twice annually, with the second edition each year focused primarily on a theme and supplemented by a small selection of broader-ranging papers.

    Prospective guest editor submissions on themes for future editions are always welcome. While many of Australian Journalism Review's submitting authors are based within the Australia-Pacific region, the journal welcomes scholarship from around the world and extending into broader media and communication topics of relevance to journalism.

    The journal incorporates a regular section highlighting the work of early career researchers, particularly current or recent higher degree by research students, as well as book reviews focusing on recent additions to the journalism, media and communications publishing landscape.

    AJR is the journal of the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia.

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